Policy: Technology & Telecommunications
First Edition: January 15, 1999
Revised: September 25, 2006
Trinity recognizes the critical value of technology in achieving its institutional mission. This Technology and Telecommunications Policy Guide (TTPG) includes a statement of policies that govern the use of Trinity’s technology and telecommunications infrastructure as these systems exist at the time of the issuance of this updated policy statement. In recognition of the rapidly changing technological environment at Trinity and throughout higher education, Trinity will review the TTPG periodically and make adjustments to ensure that Trinity’s priorities and policies are keeping pace with innovations and experience.
All faculty, students and staff of Trinity are responsible to abide by the policies and directions of this policy guide. In addition, any other users who participate in the Trinity technology and telecommunications environment are responsible to observe these policies.
Access to the technology and telecommunications systems of Trinity is a privilege extended to specified users. Violation of these policies may result in suspension or termination of access privileges to any or all technology and telecommunications systems.
Within the general context of Trinity’s mission and values, Trinity expects all users of its technology and telecommunications systems to respect conventional “acceptable use” guidelines for colleges and universities. Such guidelines generally state that technology and telecommunications equipment and systems provided by the university may be used for all aspects of teaching and research, as well as the business affairs of the university, and related communications including publication and distribution of information related to the academic and administrative affairs of the university .
Acceptable use also incorporates the general policies of Trinity, including policies stated in the various handbooks and policy statements.
Acceptable use also includes external laws and regulations, including laws governing copyrights, intellectual property, libel, privacy and pornography.
Following are examples of activities that are NOT acceptable use under this policy guide:
- Use of any Trinity computer, telephone, fax machine, e-mail account, web site, or other technological or telecommunications device for commercial activities that are not approved by Trinity.(“Commercial” means activities that produce goods or services for sale and offered to a broad market; as used in this policy, the term generally encompasses the idea that an individual may not use Trinity’s equipment, domain address, or any aspect of technology to run a private business or for personal financial gain. This meaning generally distinguishes conventional scholarly and academic activities like writing articles or publishing books, which may generate honoraria or royalties for a faculty member as a by-product of scholarly and intellectual activity, from activities whose primary purpose is financial gain, e.g., using a web page located on Trinity’s web site to advertise a private consulting business or to sell retail products. As individual cases arise, Trinity reserves the right to determine whether an activity conducted using its equipment is permissible under this section, and personnel conflict-of-interest policies also apply in relation to such activities.)
- Any use that seeks to break into, modify, disrupt, shut down or otherwise impact negatively upon the university’s computer and telephone systems, including hacking, introduction of viruses, spamming, stealing account codes, and related activities. Users are warned that such activities may also result in legal action, including FBI involvement and criminal prosecution.
- Any use that inappropriately abridges another person’s ability to use the technology and telecommunications systems.
- Any use that violates Trinity’s policies or laws that protect individuals from racial, sexual or other harassment, or harassment or discrimination based on other categories covered by federal law and the D.C. Human Rights Act.
- Any use that violates another person’s privacy. Examples of such use include: publishing another person’s name, phone number, address, grades, messages, papers or written coursework, or any other personally identifying information without that person’s explicit permission.
- Any use that violates copyright and intellectual property laws and policies, including the use or distribution of unlicensed software, as well as uses that violate the standards of Academic Honesty including downloading and using another person’s work without their explicit permission, engaging in plagiarism (presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own), engaging in any form of academic or business fraud.
- Any use that tampers with software protections or restrictions placed on computer applications, files, or directories. Examples of such use includes altering or deleting operating systems, desktop icons, and desktop settings.
- Any use that engages in fraudulent or criminal activities, uses that are obscene, pornographic or defamatory, or uses that harass or intimidate individuals or groups.
- Any use that attempts to obtain a higher level of security on Trinity’s systems than the level to which the user is authorized.
Trinity owns its name, its seal, logo and images, and no one may use the name, seal, logo or images of Trinity on print or electronic communications without explicit permission (permission is implied for uses related to work at Trinity; examples distinguishing such uses: using letterhead is permitted for official correspondence but not for personal letters, and in the same way in cyberspace, using the university name and logo generally would be permitted for official web pages but not for personal web pages. Similarly, while the name “Trinity” might appear on individual addresses or resumes for identification purposes, the official name of the university may not be used in ways that imply endorsement, oversight or ownership without explicit agreement with the university.) Trinity owns the domain name trinitydc.edu , and no one may use this domain address other than persons authorized by Trinity.
Within this context, the following general policies are intended to assist all members of the campus community in their use of campus telecommunications, technology and information systems. Unless the policy statements that follow indicate specific application to faculty, staff or students, the policy governs all persons who have accounts with the Trinity systems.
All full-time faculty and staff have direct access to computers and telephones and the systems they support, and this access includes a larger responsibility to use the equipment appropriately and to care properly for the equipment. All telephone and computer equipment purchased and installed by Trinity is the property of Trinity, unless otherwise specified. Employees who use their personal equipment on the premises of the university should register that use through the Office of Technology and Information Resources.
Part-time faculty and staff may also have access to computer and telephone systems through accounts assigned at the beginning of each semester.
Students who also work as staff in various offices and departments may have varying degrees of access to Trinity’s systems and information services beyond the access normally provided to persons who are students only. For purposes of the application of this policy, students with staff levels of access are treated as “staff” in this section; students who misuse their staff privileges will incur disciplinary actions that may include both personnel actions as well as judicial sanctions depending upon the conduct.
Every user who is an employee receives access codes and passwords for those portions of the systems that are applicable to the employee’s work. Trinity reserves the right to restrict access according to the needs of the users. Employees who are not provided access codes or passwords may not attempt to gain access to systems or information by other means; similarly, employees who are granted limited access to the information system may not use such access to obtain other information to which they are not entitled, e.g., payroll information or student records.
The Policy on Information Access and Security is incorporated by reference here, and is attached at the end of this document.
Students may have access to portions of the telecommunications, technology and information systems of Trinity as a matter of privilege, not right. The privilege is extended on a semester-by-semester basis to students ( a) who are in good academic standing. Trinity reserves the right to deny access to these systems to any student who has violated these policies.
Trinity encourages all students to acquire personal computers for use either at home or in their residence hall rooms. As with all personal equipment, students are responsible for the security, maintenance and repair of their computers and technological equipment.
Trinity provides the following means of computer and phone access for students:
Residence Halls : Each student room is equipped with voice and data ports sufficient for the number of students expected to live in the room. Resident students have access to the the Trinity telephone system, and they will receive voicemail boxes and information about long-distance access. Resident students will be expected to provide their own analog telephone instruments. Resident students will also have access to the e-mail system and the Internet.
Commuter Students : All commuter students in all programs will receive e-mail addresses at the beginning of each semester. Students are responsible to check e-mail on a regular basis, because the faculty will use these systems to communicate with students.
Computer Labs and Public Access Terminals : Trinity provides computer labs and public access terminals in various locations. The use of the computer labs is restricted to Trinity students, faculty and staff only; no other person may use the labs, and children may not be present in the labs or use the public access computers.
Trinity Web Site
Trinity maintains an official College web site at www.trinitydc.edu . This site is an official College publication, and all materials posted on this site must conform to the policies and expectations of the university for official publications. The Webmaster is responsible for the general oversight of the web site, but not for posting individual material for individual departments. Each department, is responsible for posting and updating its own material; and must appoint a single point person or “web content manager” responsible for such material. Additional technical information about how to prepare and post approved web pages is available from the Webmaster, who will publish this information in a separate document.
Trinity provides a campus e-mail system for the convenience of faculty, staff and students. All faculty and staff receive e-mail addresses when they begin their employment with Trinity. Part-time faculty receive e-mail addresses at the beginning of each semester. Part-time faculty who are engaged with Trinity on a continuous basis will keep the same addresses from semester to semester. Students will receive e-mail addresses at the beginning of each semester.
A. Activation of E-Mail Accounts
In order for e-mail accounts to become active, all users must sign agreements governing the use of the e-mail privileges. Faculty and staff sign these agreements at the beginning of their employment, or upon other direction from the Office of Human Resources. Students must sign the e-mail agreement at the beginning of each semester as part of their registration process. No e-mail account will be activated without a signed agreement.
All e-mail accounts require special passwords. Users are responsible for safeguarding their passwords and are responsible for all transactions using their passwords. No individual may assign their account or password to any other person. Any person who deliberately makes their account available to an unauthorized user will incur termination of their account. Similarly, any person who fraudulently gains access to another person’s password or account will incur disciplinary action.
C. Academic Clearance
Students must be in good academic standing in order to have active e-mail accounts.
D. General Expectations for E-Mail Conduct
All members of the Trinity community should utilize the Trinity email system for their Trinity communication. The use of e-mail is a privilege that can enhance all campus communications and facilitate the learning environment. These goals can only be met if all users observe basic courtesies and adhere to the code of conduct for e-mail use set forth below.
The following general expectations govern e-mail:
- Users must remember that e-mail is not private; e-mail may be scrutinized by employers, law enforcement authorities, and persons who gain access to the e-mail system by legal or illegal means. E-mail sent to non-existent or incorrect user names may wind up in mailboxes of persons whom the sender did not intend to receive the mail. Even if the user deletes an e-mail message, the message remains resident in the system memory. For all of these reasons, the first good rule for any e-mail message is to write it as if the whole world might read it; no one can expect complete privacy in any e-mail message. Users must understand that any work created and stored electronically may be subject to electronic monitoring, administrative or law enforcement scrutiny, discovery in legal cases, retention and storage on backup systems, and other scrutiny.
While Trinity will take appropriate measures to protect the privacy of users from inappropriate scrutiny of their communications and documents, the nature of electronic media makes it impossible for Trinity, or any email provider, to guarantee absolute privacy to users. Trinity also reserves the right to access such material for legitimate administrative purposes, or upon appropriately presented request by law enforcement authorities, and also to delete, archive, compress, or otherwise manage such data as may be necessary.
- Courtesy and respect in communicating with other individuals is an essential expectation for all communications at Trinity, and this expectation carries through to e-mail.
- The Honor System also applies to e-mail, so that all communications via e-mail must be truthful and respectful of the good of the community.
- E-mail that violates Trinity’s policy on harassment, or any other policies , may incur termination of the account and additional penalties under the policies implicated.
- E-mail that violates laws and regulations regarding hate crimes, or that makes threats or attempts to intimidate, extort or otherwise harm another person will be turned over to law enforcement authorities for further investigation, including the FBI.
- Spamming, chain e-mailing, or any other activity that attempts to jam mailboxes or to interfere with the normal operation of the e-mail system will result in account termination and other disciplinary action; users should know that such actions may also result in the involvement of external law enforcement authorities.
Trinity provides telephone and voice mail access for all resident students, faculty and staff. Full-time faculty and staff receive phone numbers and voice mailboxes when they begin employment at Trinity. Resident students and part-time faculty will receive voice mailbox numbers at the beginning of each semester. The same policies and expectations that govern e-mail also govern voice mail and telephone usage.
Resident students have telephone access through the main Trinity telephone system. This access will include local dialtone service. It is recommended that students obtain a calling card for long distance calls.
Any use of Trinity telephones for any fraudulent or illegal purpose will incur severe penalties, including the possible involvement of law enforcement authorities as well as disciplinary action by Trinity.
Telephone misconduct includes misuse of telephone credit cards, misuse of college long-distance access codes, theft of telephone instruments, and any related misconduct.
Trinity maintains a computerized database system (PowerCampus/Self-Service) for a wide variety of information management purposes. Much of the information is personal information on students, faculty, staff, alumnae and friends of the university. Trinity considers the security of this information to be one of the university’s most serious responsibilities, and accordingly, access to these databases is limited to persons who have a legitimate need to use the information to advance the academic and administrative goals of the university.
Persons who are given passwords and have legitimate access to the information on PowerCampus/Self-Service have a strict responsibility to ensure that this information is used appropriately, and that the privacy of persons identified through this information is strictly protected. This responsibility extends both to information available on computer screens as well as information available in print media, including all printouts, manual dossiers, correspondence files, directories, and similar forms of information banks.
The Policy on Information Access and Security is incorporated by reference here.
The Trinity Library maintains an online catalog and is a member of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC). The Library also has access to other databases and information resources. Policies governing the use of the Library systems and resources are available through the Library. Users are reminded that the “acceptable use” statement and other policies contained in this guide also apply to the use of library resources.
Computer classrooms and SmartRooms are designated for instructional purposes only, not casual use. These rooms must be kept secured when not used for classes. Fsaculty members whose classes take place in these locations must be present in the rooms at all times, and the faculty member is responsible to ensure the appropriate use and care of the equipment, and to be sure that the room is locked when the class is over.
The Office of the Academic Vice President provides additional information and instructions about access to and the use of the various electronic and smart classrooms. Users are reminded that the acceptable use statement and other policies stated in this guide also apply to the use of the computer classrooms and smart rooms .
Blogs, Online Journals and Social Networking Sites
Trinity recognizes the broad array of communications and networking tools available in the online environment. Trinity is not responsible for any blogs, online journals, social networking sites or other communications and information tools except those that the university chooses to maintain officially on its website or in other locations. Only Trinity’s officially maintained and approved website and other locations may use Trinity’s logo, domain name and symbols.
Trinity has no official relationship, nor does Trinity approve, any communications or references that occur on other websites, blogs, social networking sites or other Internet locations, and Trinity accepts no responsibility for materials that appear or communications or representations that occur on such external websites, including but not limited to myspace.com, facebook.com, livejournal.com, friendster.com, craigslist.com and similar sites.
Trinity reminds all students, faculty and staff that all communications and representations must be truthful in accord with Trinity’s Honor System, regardless of the place where the communications occur. Additionally, Trinity reserves the right to take appropriate disciplinary action whenever Trinity discovers dishonest, defamatory or illegal conduct online, even if the conduct occurs through an external website. Such conduct might include, but is not limited to, evidence of drug use or underage drinking, harassment or slander, child pornography and criminal activity of any kind.